2022 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards | Source: The Toy Association

Updated: Nov. 11, 2021, 4:15 p.m ET

The Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards are often hailed as “the Oscars of the toy industry,” and this week The Toy Foundation dropped the curtain on the finalists for 2022.

After carefully examining 623 nominees, a panel of 23 industry experts determined this year’s 114 finalists across 16 categories. One winner in each category, along with the consumer-chosen People’s Choice Award and the overall Toy of the Year Award, will be presented at The Toy Foundation’s TOTY Awards gala on Friday, Feb. 18 as The Toy Association prepares to open the doors to Toy Fair New York 2022 at the newly expanded Javtis Center.

As news of this year’s nominations spreads, executives, designers, and other team members from a variety of toy and game companies are reacting to the highly competitive field that’s filled with some usual suspects, some up-and-comers, and a few surprises. Check out a select assortment of highlights below — in alphabetical order — and be sure to keep an eye out for the special TOTY issue of the Toy Book, coming to mailboxes very soon!


On the Arckit 100 securing a nomination for Construction Toy of the Year:

“To be nominated alongside icons of the industry is a truly tremendous honor as well as a resounding endorsement for Arckit at the highest level of the industry,” says Damien Murtagh, founder and CEO, Arckit. “I cannot wait to proudly fly the Irish flag on the big night in February.”

BBC Studios

On the Bluey franchise being nominated for License of the Year:

“Wackadoo! Bluey is taking the toy world by storm!” says Paulina Abrams, director of consumer products and licensing for Bluey at BBC Studios.

RELATED: For Your Consideration: BBC Studios’ Bluey


On securing a nomination in the Creative Toy of the Year category:

“This year has truly been incredible for our team as Pixicade and Pixicade Plus are again honored with nominations and awards,” says Alysha Horstman, chief creative officer, BitOGenius Inc. “We are honored to be recognized with industry greats!”


On securing a nomination for its Beatles Collection Magna-Tiles Structures in Grown-Up Toy of the Year:

“Two years ago Aaron Singer and I had an idea. Today one of our products was nominated for a TOTY,” says Steven Rosen, vice president, CreateOn. “To be nominated with such companies as LEGO, Funko, Spin Master, Mattel, and The Walt Disney Co. is truly incredible and means so much to all of us!”

Elenco Electronics

On scoring a trio of nominations for 2022:

”For nearly 50 years, we have created educational products that follow our Learn by Doing philosophy,” says Jim Cecchin, president, Elenco. “We are so honored to be recognized for our ongoing commitment to strengthen education through play. We congratulate all of the finalists who inspire creativity for the next generation.”

Elenco products are nominated in three categories, including Construction Toy of the Year for Snap Circuits My Home; Specialty Toy of the Year for Snap Circuits Discover Coding; and STEAM Toy of the Year: Smartivity Pinball Machine.

RELATED: Chatting with Pamela Mastrota About Plans for The Toy Foundation

Fat Brain Toys

On securing four nominations this year:

“If you like underdog stories, there’s no better example than this year’s TOTY competition,” says Mark Carson, Fat Brain’s president and co-founder. “Success is all too often defined by gross revenue, so we’re very grateful to be recognized for the quality and innovation of our toy designs.”

Humans Who Play

On Follies landing a nomination for Creative Toy of the Year:

“A month after our launch it’s incredible that our little artsy toy that gets kids to think about you know, The Bauhaus Movement, is listed alongside toy industry giants as a finalist for the top industry award,” says Humans Who Play Founder Chloe Varelidi. “It’s also not lost on me that we are one of the few 100% woman-owned and bootstrapped businesses on that list. Not to mention one with a social impact mission.”

Jakks Pacific

On the success of its TOTY-nominated Super Mario Deluxe Bowser’s Airship Playset and growing toy line inspired by the iconic Nintendo character:

“We have seen our POS grow double digits for Super Mario across all major retailers this year,” says Craig Drobis, senior vice president, Jakks Pacific. “There’s no question the brand is stronger than ever and we are filling this demand with an array of new Super Mario figures, playsets, and plush in stores this month.”


On leading the pack with the most finalists out of any company this year:

“Mattel, Inc. is proud to lead the industry with a record 17 finalist nominations for The Toy Association’s Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards 2022,” says Mattel Chairman and CEO Ynon Kreiz. “The annual TOTY Awards showcase the top toys, games, and children’s properties of the year, and serve as an important philanthropic fundraiser for The Toy Foundation. This is an exciting day for our iconic Mattel brands and the talented team members behind them, as well as our valued licensing partners.”

On a banner year for the Hot Wheels brand and Vehicles portfolio:

“Hot Wheels is leading the charge with a record number of TOTY nominations for the brand, including Hot Wheels Color Reveal for Vehicle of the Year, Hot Wheels R/C Cybertruck for Grown-Up Toy of the Year, and Hot Wheels Red Line Club for Collectible of the Year,” says Roberto Stanichi, senior vice president, Hot Wheels and global head of vehicles at Mattel. “On top of that, the Fisher-Price Power Wheels Hot Wheels Racer has been nominated for Outdoor Toy of the Year.”

MGA Entertainment

On missing the deadline for the TOTY nominations and still getting Rainbow High into the mix:

“We screwed up this year and missed the nominations deadline,” says Isaac Larian, founder and CEO of MGA Entertainment. “The Toy Association, out of courtesy, nominated our Rainbow High Winter Break Dolls [in the Doll of the Year category]. After all, it would be awkward for the toy industry not to have an MGA toy in the mix!”

MGA subsequently released its own list of the Top 25 Toys from its holiday lineup.

“We have the hottest toys of the season and everyone better shop now to secure toys due to the supply chain issues,” Larian says. In a separate LinkedIn post, Larian notes that MGA has withdrawn its membership from the Toy Association.

RELATED: For Your Consideration: MGA Entertainment’s Rainbow High Winter Break Dolls

Moose Toys

On scoring TOTY nominations in three categories — Creative Toy of the Year, Action Figure of the Year, and Plush Toy of the Year:

“This has been a phenomenal year for us with the introduction of completely new original toys like Akedo — Ultimate Arcade Warriors and Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron, which has been a global sales sensation for Moose,” says Moose Toys’ co-owner Paul Solomon. “It’s also an honor to have two of our most popular brands recognized again this year, Scruff-a-Luvs Cutie Cuts — the company’s newest addition to its TOTY-winning Scruff-a-Luvs line of rescue pets — and this is the third consecutive nomination for Heroes of Goo Jit Zu, affirmation of our status as a mega-player in the action figure category.”

Radio Flyer

On the Classic Push & Play Walker scoring a nomination for Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year:

“This was such a fun project to work on,” says Collin Ostergaard, design manager at Radio Flyer. “It’s a great combination of materials to create something fun, functional, and aesthetic!”

VTech and LeapFrog

On scoring a company record six nominations across four categories: Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year, Preschool Toy of the Year, Vehicle of the Year, and STEAM Toy of the Year.

“We always eagerly look forward to hearing the Toy of the Year finalists,” says Andy Keimach, president, VTech Electronics North America. “Every year our goal is to provide toys that parents and children love while helping them learn and grow. These nominations certainly confirm that we are on the right path.”

TOTY Award voting is open through Jan. 4, 2022. Every vote cast serves as an entry in the TOTY sweepstakes, giving consumers a chance to take home the winning toy in each category.